Prosecution strategies in AR cases

September 23, 2020

In a series of two articles published in Counsel, Laura Hoyano of Red Lion Chambers, together with John Riley of 23ES, describes the dynamics of an abusive relationship, and the challenges posed for investigators and prosecutors to build a case of violent and coercive behaviour, especially where the victim refuses to cooperate because she does not recognise that she has been abused.

They describe innovative tactics to surmount these difficulties, involving counsel at an early stage, including finding witnesses who have observed radical changes in the complainant’s behaviour. They should also prepare for the likelihood that the complainant must be declared a hostile witness at trial, and possibly even arrested to compel attendance in court. They also describe how the jury should be educated by the prosecution in the dynamics of abusive relationships through opening and closing speeches.

Theauthors also discuss how best to use R v Dalgarno (AG’s Reference) [2020] EWCA 290 in sentencing submissions. They recommend amendments to the Domestic Abuse Bill 2019-21 currently before Parliament, including making complainants eligible for YJCEA 1999 section 28 pre-trial cross-examination, so as to reduce the likelihood of resiling on complaints due to external pressures, and an absolute ban on cross-examination of the complainant by the defendant in person.

Part 1: [Counsel Magazine (1)]

Part 2: [Counsel Magazine (2)]